a Paul like courage
It has been a while since I have posted anything, but I am excited about trying to use tumblr more often. Sometimes I get the feeling like I should be reading a certain book out of the Bible, and recently it has been Philippians. It seems like when this happens, verses from Philippians start showing up all around me. Mentor training. Group devotions. Random guys tattoos. And other various places. God has an awesome way of getting his Word to us one way or another.
When reading Philippians 1, something very bold stuck out to me. Verse 21 says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Paul is in jail while he is writing this letter to the church at Philippi, and he is still not afraid to speak the Word of God. He knows his imprisonment was being used to further the kingdom. He warns the church at Philippi that it isn’t going to be easy to advance the gospel, and Paul isn’t afraid to die for Christ. Do I have the same courage that Paul has in spreading the Gospel?
Unfortunately not. What is the difference between Paul and I? He’s not afraid of the consequences for spreading the Gospel. Earlier I wrote the word DIE without even thinking about it. Paul was willing to end his life for the sake of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. He knew he was just a pawn in the battle of good versus evil, and just one piece of the puzzle in spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Paul understood that his imprisonment was helping other brothers speak more boldly about Christ (maybe a big headed thought, although he does say they’re “confident in the Lord” and not in himself). Paul shares to them that they should believe in Christ but also suffer for his sake (1:29).
Are we willing to be that committed to sharing the Gospel?
When I was growing up I went through a number of phases in regards to what I would do with my life. Firefighter? Train Conductor, Professional Athlete, Architect, Teacher, Musician, Accountant? The different careers I was interested in was about as ADD as your typical 9 year old kid. But in college when the decision actually had to be made, I took a completely different route. Through a summer spent at camp, conversations with people I look up to, and tons of prayer, it became pretty clear that Christian Ministries is where I needed to be.
I’m a sinner, and a pretty big one at that. What credentials could I possible have to live a life devoted to God, and spreading His love and Good News to others? That was a big issue whenever I pondered that this is the life God was calling me too. Every action I took, every word I spoke crept into the back of my mind and asked if this was really the way a person heading towards ministry should be, or even just a Christian in general! Then I realized it was my problems, poor choices, and thoughts that allowed a sinner like me to be in ministry and furthering God’s Kingdom.
I have experienced the grace and mercy of God first hand. Despite every bad choice I make, and every impure thought I have, I know that God still loves me. I know that He had sent His Son to die on the cross for my and everybody else’s sin. It is through this salvation that I can have confidence in my calling to teach others of His everlasting love.
This doesn’t give me the excuse to just do whatever I want and justify it with ‘well God still loves me so i’m okay’ but rather I need to use my past mistakes and sins as a way to get better, strengthen my relationship with Christ, and be able to tell others about the amazing love that God has for everyone.
But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.